Poll: Views on How Money Affects Individual Health Vary by Income
About one-third of low-income individuals believe that a lack of money has a negative effect on health, according to poll conducted by NPR, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NPR's "Shots" reports (Neighmond, "Shots," NPR, 3/2).
For the poll, researchers surveyed 2,423 U.S. residents ages 18 and up between Sept. 15, 2014, and Oct. 15, 2014.
The researchers found that 32% of respondents with annual incomes of less than $25,000 said that having a low income is an extremely important cause of individuals' health outcomes, compared with 22% of respondents with annual incomes of more than $75,000.
Researchers also found that:
- 40% of low-income respondents said that a poor neighborhood and housing conditions were extremely important causes of individuals' health outcomes, compared with 27% of higher-income respondents;
- 40% of low-income respondents said that bad working conditions were an extremely important cause, compared with 26% of higher-income respondents (NPR/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health/RWJF poll, March 2015);
- 39% of low-income respondents said they were in better health than their parents were at the same age, compared with 48% of higher-income respondents; and
- 14% of low-income respondents said they were in worse health than their parents were at the same age, compared with 7% of higher-income respondents (Neel, "Shots," NPR, 3/2).
In addition, the poll found that about 20% of all respondents said that unemployment or low-paying jobs had a harmful effect on their own health (Neighmond, "Shots," NPR, 3/2).
Meanwhile, the poll also found that black respondents were more likely than other respondents to have said that not graduating from high school or eating a bad diet has significant effects on individual health later in life.
Among all respondents, 54% said that being neglected and abused in childhood are extremely important causes of individuals' health issues later in life when they are adults, with more than one-third of respondents saying it was "very important."
Further, when respondents were asked which of 14 potential causes of poor health were extremely important:
- 42% said lack of access to high-quality care, the highest percentage of any factor;
- 40% said personal behavior;
- 40% said bacteria or viruses;
- 37% said high stress; and
- 35% said being exposed to air, chemical or water pollution.
According to "Shots," such a question has 'never before [been] asked in a poll like this" (Neel, "Shots," NPR, 3/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.